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18 December 2015

European Council conclusions after 17-18 December Summit

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EU leaders focused on migration topics, the fight against terrorism, the Five presidents' report on the Economic and Monetary Union, the completion of the single market, and the UK plans for the referendum. They also adopted conclusions on Syria.

Economic and Monetary Union

14. Further to the Five Presidents' report on completing the Economic and Monetary Union requested by the December 2014 European Council, the European Council confirms its commitment to work towards completing the Economic and Monetary Union, in full respect of the internal market and in an open and transparent manner. It asks the Council to swiftly examine the proposals put forward by the Commission as a follow-up to the report. In particular, work should rapidly advance as regards:

a) more effective economic and fiscal governance, to boost competitiveness, convergence and sustainability;

b) the euro area's external representation, to better reflect its weight in the world economy;

c) the Banking Union, to enhance financial stability in the euro area.

The Council will report on the progress achieved by June 2016.

15. The legal, economic and political aspects of the more long-term measures contained in the report need to be further explored. Further to additional work to be undertaken by the Commission and the Council, the European Council will come back to those measures at the latest by the end of 2017. 

Internal market

16. The internal market is Europe's main engine for growth and job creation and a key to investment and increasing European competitiveness. To reap all its benefits it is crucial for its legislation to be transparent, simple and based on the most efficient tools, such as harmonisation as well as mutual recognition. It should also be effectively and fully applied and enforced in practice, while adapting it to emerging challenges and minimising burdens on economic actors. Further to the Commission's initiatives to strengthen and deepen the Single Market, the European Council:

a) calls for ambition in the implementation of the roadmap to delivering on the Single Market Strategy to achieve a deeper and fairer Single Market for goods and services in all key areas;

b) in the interest of consumers and industry alike, invites the EU institutions to accelerate implementation of the Digital Single Market Strategy; welcomes the agreement reached on the data protection package as a major step forward;

c) further to the Action Plan on Capital Markets Union, calls on the Parliament and Council to reach rapid agreement on the early actions, including securitisation.

17. The European Council stresses the importance it attaches to a successful conclusion of the TTIP negotiations. It urges all sides to redouble their efforts with a view to concluding an ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial agreement as soon as possible with a view to harnessing the full potential of the transatlantic economy.

United Kingdom

20. The European Council had a political exchange of views on the UK plans for an (in/out) referendum. Following today's substantive and constructive debate, the members of the European Council agreed to work closely together to find mutually satisfactory solutions in all the four areas at the European Council meeting on 18-19 February 2016.

Full EUCO conclusions

Remarks by President Donald Tusk following the first session of the European Council meeting

[...] On the UK, we had a substantive and constructive discussion over dinner. I didn't want to sound too dramatic before the meeting but I do believe that tonight was a make-or-break moment. Prime Minister Cameron set out in detail his position, in particular regarding benefits and free movement. He explained his request for a model based on four years and reiterated the openness to alternative solutions only if they could achieve the same objective. Leaders voiced their concerns, but also demonstrated willingness to look for compromises. Building on this positive debate, we agreed to work together to find solutions in all four baskets raised by PM Cameron. Hard work on all baskets is still ahead of us. First, we will work closely with the UK and the Commission. And in the run-up to the February European Council, I will table a concrete text to all the leaders. [...]

Full remarks

Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the European Council meeting, 18 December 2015

This morning, we had a serious political discussion about completing the Economic and Monetary Union. The European Central Bank President Mario Draghi also joined us and has stressed the need for progress. We have one clear message from our debate: there is no time for complacency in reforming the eurozone. We stand ready to take difficult decisions on banking union and economic governance in the coming year. Our ministers will work rapidly and report to us next June.

Full remarks

© European Council

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